17 thoughts on “The rear of Wolsey’s Fruit Shop c1969

  1. The white/dark green shop opposite the Plaza was 13 and upstairs 13.5 Bishop Street (occasionally numbered 14). This shop was followed by, left to right above, tiny 1 Thistle Green, then more substantial 2 and 3 Thistle Green. Some of these houses were requisitioned by the council during the war and returned some time after it. The J. Wolsey gates are sited where 4 and 5 Thistle Green once stood, but these houses were demolished as part of the late 1920’s Housewife Lane demolition scheme. 5 Thistle Green during the 1890’s, and up to 1908, was the main shop and home of the Groskop family, second hand clothes dealers. They also had a shop in Bishop Street near the early Marks and Spencers, and a market stall in the High Street between Bishop Street and Silver Street that often sold sweets. My ‘Aunt Zeta’ who was a granddaughter of Gershon Groskop was born at 5 Thistle Green in 1891. Gershon settled in Stockton in 1867 after a short spell in Sunderland. He arrived in England from Poland c.1859 and started the UK family with the birth of his sons Henry in Sunderland in 1866, and Emanuel in Stockton in 1868.

    Brought up close to the Wolseys, the Groskops were longtime customers of the Wolseys for many years, even when I was small in the 1960’s. The shops at 2 and 3 Thistle Green, above, are probably indicative of what 4 and 5 Thistle Green once looked like. Some council documentation of land sales, to allow the Wolseys back access from their premises in Knowles Street into Thistle Green post 4 and 5 Thistle Green demolition survives.


    • Alan was your forbears Jewish? It appears so from the names and history given. Gershon Groskop (Goodhead) (arrived England 1867) was an early pioneer, it was not until 15 years later that the mass emigration of Jews from Lithuania and Russia took place. Gershon was almost certainly fleeing from the Russian Law that banished Jews from the major Russian cities to a wasteland known as the Pale of Settlement, it was known by Jews as the “Stetl”, this area was soon had an strong cultural life with self-education and private schools flourishing. Areas of great interest to scholars are Vilna, Lublin, Bialystok and Warsaw.

      Today its popular (but not exactly true) to claim that riots and pogroms in Russia forced the Jewish Community to leave, and head for America or England. There was some truth in this, but what caused the most members of the Jewsh Community to leave Russia, a stampede too place, was THE WILSON SHIPPING LINE, based in Hull, offering passage to England for the low fare of £3.50 single. Thousands of young men accepted the offer, and Hull and Stockton were two of the major arrival ports.

      The most famous immigrant was Michael Marks, who arrived in Stockton. stayed a while, then journeyed to Leeds. After arriving in Leeds he partnered with Tom Spencer, and together they created a wonderful retailing dynasty. Apart from Mr Marks we had the arrival of men who started firms such has Burton the Tailors, Alexandres, Weaver to Wearer, Great Universal Stores and Tescos, just a small handful of great success stories, it needs to be said that most Jews are not so lucky or rich, with most being just ordinary people living lives of great desperation. I’m glad that your forbear Gershon came here, another reason he may have left was the Russian State were mass arresting young male Jews to provide free slave labour cutting timber in Siberia, and the conditions there were so disgraceful that thousands died there and never returned home.

      October 15, 2015 at 18.11
      Alan, I forgot that in 2013 we had some correspondence on Gershon Groskop, some further thoughts are: Gershon is a Polish Jewish Surname, so is Groskop, there are around 100 families with that name listed on Jewish Gen, Gershon wife Martha was not Jewish which meant their children were not considered Jewish by the British Jewish Rabbinical Courts, the Road to Barry, Wales was travelled by many immigrant Jews, the lure was quick employment in the Welsh Coal Mines, and/or it may well be Gershon already had relations there who he wanted to meet up with. Polish Jews did have a strong coal mining history which of course refutes the propaganda lies a about Jews which a certain German madman ranted and raved about them. The madman Holocaust was motivated by robbery, theft and plunder, the race argument was a plausible excuse to conceal this.

      Poland did not exist in Gershon time, it was a Russian / Prussian Province engaged in an 100 years revolt and unrest against foreign rulers, which adopted the name Poland following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in spring 1918, when revolutionary Lenin Russia renounced Russian claims to Poland. Following the German defeat and the replacement of Hohenzollern rule by the Weimar Republic and the collapse of Habsburg Austria-Hungary, Poland became an independent republic.. An interesting fact is: by law all Russian boys had to be given the name of a disciple, or someone mentioned in the bible hence the biblical names of Gershons family,


  2. The Sadler’s shop was the place to visit on a Saturday morning when I was young and flush with my pocket money. They sold the metal studs ( I think 1d or 2d each ) that were pushed through your leather belt which to me made it look super cool. Strangely my mother didn’t share my views, but it never stopped me buying as many as I could until the belt had no more room for them. Happy days.


  3. I love these old pictures because I am almost 70 and I am of an age where I can remember from when I was a young boy the buildings in some of these photo’s. As I mentioned in some of my recent postings, I actually watched pictures in the Plaza (Flea Pit) Picture House shown in this picture when I was young. I remember Wolsey’s the fruiterers which did front on to the High Street round the corner from The Trustees Bank in Knowles Street.
    Unfortunately unlike lots of other people who are interested in this Web Site, I do not have any photo’s to contribute but, I am grateful to those who do and I hope they continue. I find most of the contributions particularly those relating to Stockton and Thornaby where I was born and grow up very interesting, nostalgic and emotional and I will always try and respond with a reply where I can.


  4. I suspect this great picture could maybe have been taken from outside where the police station is now and the fruit warehouse etc could now be the car park area to the rear and side of the Sun Inn. I don’t think the fruiterers could have fronted onto the High street as Lindsay House was there by the time this was taken in 1969 and Victoria buildings were there prior to that. I’m sure someone here will know for definite…


    • I agree technically it didn’t front onto the High Street, it fronted on to Knowles St. next door to the Sun Inn, partly behind Lindsay House. But their shop did face onto the High St., as seen in the excellent pictures linked in the comment below by the PST.


      • Hi, Yes all is clear now… I just had trouble visualising where it could have been on the High St, I had previously viewed the colour pictures which clearly show the frontage but had forgotten about them. They are also very interesting me being a regular of the Sun Inn but a bit before my time. Do you reckon these were possibly taken around 1960-61 during clearing of Victoria buildings..?


  5. Is this Thistle Green? I recall walking up Bishops St, past The Plaza Ciinema and the other premises shown, every night to catch a bus on the High St. This, when working as a labourer at Allan Kennedy’s Industrial Flooring factory (on the riverbank at the bottom of Bishops St) in the mid 60’s, during the 10 week summer-break whilst an 18yr old at college. In an age before ‘student loans,’ and oversea back-packing trips, it was amazing just how much casual-employment was available in local industry to boost a ‘poverty stricken’ student’s annual resources.


  6. This photograph is taken from where Stockton Police station is now. It also shows the news agent’s on the corner. and the Saddlers shop on the right. This was always called Thistle Green


  7. My g/father Jackson Walker had his own business in Norton as a market gardener. J Wolsey as a wholesaler delivered fruit to him for him to sell on his stall in the market at Stockton. The fruit he got was because he did not grow it. I don’t think money was ever past over as Wolsey’s received home grown vegetables from him in exchange.


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